On Wednesday, the British government announced its intention to designate the Russian mercenary Wagner Group as a terrorist organization. This move will render membership in or support for the group illegal in the United Kingdom.
A draft order set to be presented before parliament will designate Wagner’s assets as terrorist property, enabling their confiscation, according to a statement from the interior ministry.
Interior minister Suella Braverman described Wagner as “violent and destructive”. It had acted as “a military tool of Vladimir Putin’s Russia overseas,” she said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as reported by Reuters, said that from a legal standpoint, Wagner does not exist.
“There is nothing to comment on,” he said when asked about the measure.
The British statement has accused Wagner of looting, torture, and “barbarous murders” across Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa, characterizing it as a global security threat.
Top of Form “They are terrorists, plain and simple – and this prescription order makes that clear in UK law,” Braverman said.
The order is set to take effect on September 13. Afterwards, it will be illegal to be a part of or advocate for the group, organize or attend its gatherings, or publicly display its logo.
Violations could result in up to 14 years of imprisonment, as stated in the report.
In Syria and parts of Africa, Wagner deployed Russian prisoners in Ukraine’s 2022-2023 winter offensive, cited by Reuters. In June, it incited a Russian mutiny, labelled treason by Putin, and faced tragedy on August 23, with Yevgeny Prigozhin and top associates perishing in a plane crash.
The report highlights that Britain imposed sanctions on Yevgeny Prigozhin in 2020, followed by sanctions on the Wagner group in March 2022. In July this year, additional sanctions targeted individuals and businesses linked to Wagner in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Sudan.